Continued skirmishing — hot work — Gallantry of our men — an incident — a veteran stands to his post — Treacherous Yankee--advance of the enemy, &c.
Corinth, Miss., Monday May 19, 1862
Heavy skirmishing between pickets for the last two days on the Farmington
and Purdy roads, especially on the latter.
Our forces have been driven in about half a mile, so that the enemy are now within a mile and three quarters of our position.
On Saturday we lost from sixty to seventy killed and wounded. Veterans say the work was the hottest of the kind they have known since the war begun.--The enemy's pickets were strongly supported by heavy bodies in the rear, and the officers could be distinctly heard cursing the men to urge them forward.
It was not until late in the day, however, that any progress was made by them, and then it was only from respect for their artillery, which opened on our lines heavily with shell and cannister, that we retired.
Our men all behaved gallantly, fought coolly, fired only when they saw their mark distinctly, aimed with deliberation and rarely failed to bring down their game.
Many were seen to fail, and the cries of the wounded were clearly audible, imploring help.
The close proximity of the pickets and skirmishers at this time may be illustrated by the following incident.
One of the sergeants of the 10th South Carolina, (Col. Manigault
,) having brought down a man, he observed to a comrade a few feet distant, ‘"Well, I've got one of 'em."’ The words were hardly out of his mouth before the reply came back from a covert perhaps eighty or a hundred yards distant, ‘"Damn you, if you've got one of us, we've got two of you."’ Several of our killed and wounded were shot from above, indicating that the sharpshooters of the enemy were posted in the tree-tops.
Among the personal exploits narrated to me was the following: A member of the French Guard
, of New Orleans, was detached to a certain post, and told to remain until he had further orders.
Meanwhile, the enemy advanced, and his comrades on the same picket retired, calling on him to do the same.
This he obstinately refused to do, saying, with a Roman resolution: ‘"No, I will never desert my post without orders."’ The Federals continued to approach, and soon flanked him. He fired right and left as fast as he could with revolver and musket; but the odds against him were too great, and the faithful sentinel fail, pierced in the breast and side.
Another incident: One of the Yankees
was caught by a cavalry man a short distance from his line.
Seeing his dilemma, he threw up his arms and cried, ‘"I surrender, I surrender. "’ The latter ordered him to come to him and deliver up his weapons, but in doing so he presented his revolver muzzle first an Whether it was accidental or intentional, he never and an opportunity to explain, for the norsen an quick as thought, had covered him with his carbine and blown out his brains.
These late demonstrations on the part of the Federals
can have out a single interpretation.
They are working their way, foot by foot, as near our position as possible.
While skirmishing is going on in front, entrenchments are building in the rear, and some fine morning within a week or two we shall be awakened by the shrill whistling of thirteen inch shall, and the booming of the heavy mortars and siege guns, which our scouts report to be coming from the river and mounted.
A shell thrown every three or four minutes from a dozen or twenty guns for three or four days in succession, has a demoralizing tendency generally.
To say the least, it exhausts men with the excitement of watching for the flefy messengers, and watching for the next one to strike.
But I apprehend that the wisdom of Beauregard
have anticipated this emergency, and that Halleck
will be disappointed in the results he expects to attain.
Whether our works are attacked, or we make an assault upon those of the enemy, as in case of a rout we should undoubtedly have to do, (that is, supposing them to have fortifications,) such is the spirit of our men that I look for but one termination to the contrast — i. e, a Confederate victory.
One thing is certain, we can neither be surprised nor whipped in our present position.
We have the advantage on the enemy in ground, we are nearly if not quite his equal in men, we have an abundance of war material, our forces are concentrated, and our means of transportation are ample.
The enemy, on the contrary, are beginning to suffer from the latter cause.
Their gunboats are aground, some of the transports are the same, and, with the distance which now separates their front from the river, difficulties have supervened which renders their campaigning not the easiest matter in the world.
Though surprised at Lebanon
, he captured one hundred and fifty prisoners, including Col. Dumont
, whom he did not know.
These were subsequently released.
His loss was twenty killed and wounded and forty prisoners. That of the enemy in killed and wounded about sixty.
I did not learn the particulars.
Thousands of soldiers will be incited to deeds of daring by Beauregard
's Napoleonic mode of rewarding them, and the cross of the Southern Legion
of Honor will hereafter become one of the fixed institutions of the land.
Weather dry; dusty, and hot.